The Washington Capitals didn’t waste much time replenishing their rather depleted prospect pool. With five of the top thirty-seven picks on Saturday, Washington was virtually guaranteed to come away with a strong group of players. The Capitals did not disappoint.
Once the calm had hit the Fleet Center, following the wild opening to the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Washington just sat back and waited to see who the Islanders and Nashville would take. I’m pretty sure that, Capitals, General Manager, George McPhee was thrilled to see the player who many felt was the fifth best player (outside the universal elite four) still on the board.
Kris Beach must have been an easy choice for Washington. Though Kris is a bit on the thin side weighting only 178 pounds, but at 6-foot-2 he has room to grow. I’m sure the Capitals will find a way of beefing up this Western Hockey League star.
Beech is described as an explosive skater with a quick first step and a fluid stride. He is very agile and pivots either way equally well making it hard for opponents to hit him in open-ice. His play making skills are considered top end and his puckhandling may have been the best in the draft. Although he is on the thin side, Kris has shown a willingness to play along the wall and he gets into scoring position well. Though his offensive game is impressive, Beech is also a willing back- checker. He understands that the defensive end is important and he does what has to be done to stop an opponent.
Ranked as one of the lowest Prospect teams in the NHL by most experts the Rangers went into the 1999 NHL draft in Boston with the hopes of turning things around. Well I guess a 180 is about as big of a turn around as you can expect. Neil Smith took a gamble on moving up in the draft which should have been expected since he told all the NY papers he wasn’t interested in moving up. The first deal was a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning which gave Neil Smith the 4th overall pick in the draft and guaranteed him the chance to draft one of the tier one prospects in the draft no matter what. When the Atlanta Thrasher decided Stefan was their man and the Vancouver Canucks pulled off a coop by nabbing the Sedin twins the Rangers realized for the second straight year a top gun fell into their lap. Pavel Brendl, the offensive catalyst of the WHL Calgary Hitmen was theirs. Without a second thought the Rangers made their move and got what they have not had since Mike Gartner, a pure scoring sniper.
The Rangers weren’t done though. Shaking the pot a bit they traded Marc Savard and the 11th pick to Calgary for the 9th pick. The Rangers eyed Jamie Lundmark… the Rangers prize prospect all year long. Scouts saw him and they were screaming Jeremy Roenick…and he quickly became the guy the Rangers wanted. When the Isles claimed Taylor Pyatt 8th the groundwork was laid for the claiming of the kid who “turned the entire Moose Jaw Program around” as Martin Madden, director of pro scouting for the Rangers, called Lundmark in an interview before the draft.
If you tuned in to the first round of this year’s entry draft on television, you wouldn’t even think Montreal had a franchise in the NHL. Without a first round pick (traded to the Islanders for Trevor Linden) the Habs were all but invisible during this year’s draft coverage.
The Habs concentrated on drafting skilled forwards and big defenseman, while throwing two goaltenders into the mix. The loss of a first round pick was partially made up for by 2 picks in the second round, 2 picks in the fourth round, 3 picks in the fifth round and one pick in each of the final 4 rounds. The following is a list of the Habs’ draft picks in the order in which they were picked.
POS HT/WT DOB DRAFTED
Alexander Buturlin (rw) 6’0″/182 Lbs. Sep.3/81 D-Mtl99 (2-39)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH
98-99 Stats 16 1 0 1 – 6 – –
#1 Strength- Speed and Skill
#1 Weakness- Size.
Buturlin has tremendous skill and can play at any forward position. This versatility is one of his many up-sides. He is aggressive even though his lack of size is a concern. He was ranked 4th among Europeans by the CSB.
POS HT/WT DOB DRAFTED
Matt Carkner (d) 6’4″/215 Lbs. Nov.3/80 D-Mtl99 (2-58)
GP G A PTS +/- PIM PP SH
98-99 Stats 60 2 16 18 +15 173 – -
In a draft day filled with trades and intrigue, the Boston Bruins stayed out of the dealing fray and waited their turn at the 21st position to select defenseman Nick Boynton, a player everyone in Boston hopes can help the Bruins’ fortunes sooner than anticipated. As the host city of the 1999 Draft, Boston was well-represented by its fans who voiced their pleasure when Boynton’s name was called. When future Hall of Fame defenseman Raymond Bourque, who 20 years ago was the Bruins’ top draft pick, made the announcement, draft day ’99 was that much more special for the legions of Bruins supporters in attendance. By the time the smoke cleared at the Fleetcenter, and the final name was called, Boston had taken 3 key members of the CHL’s top team, the Ottawa 67s. With 3 defensemen, several forwards and 2 goaltenders, Mike O’Connell and Harry Sinden closed the book on what appears to be a successful draft.
This draft, the Sharks took a very interesting approach to the draft. Normally, you’ll see teams going after a mix of players. There are the players from the CHL who are generally closer to the NHL than college players. These players may be ready to join their team in 1-3 years. They may account for 75% or more of teams’ picks. Then the college players who may not play for your team for four or five years. A team will usually only pick one or two of these players in one draft. And of course you have the European influence. These players may play for you the next year, or not until five years.
Of the Sharks’ seven picks, the Sharks chose only one player out of the CHL. The other six picks were from Finland (1), high school (2), and college (3). One fear that some had was that the Sharks were having a repeat of the 1995 draft where they had a European “theme” to nearly all their picks. I admit that I was one of these people who feared that. However, as I looked back on the picks, I noticed another theme, which makes far more sense.
It would seem as though Sharks picks centered around two characteristics.
1) Players who need time to develop their skills, not play 60 or more games a season. Often, players in the CHL are good at lasting during the long NHL season, but need to develop their skills. The college players may have the NHL skills once they graduate, but the course of an 82 game schedule wears them down. Read more»